I'm in Pain, So I Finally Went to the Doctor Abroad

I have never liked doctors. I hated everything about going to the doctor in the States and would avoid it until it was absolutely necessary. I think that perhaps my resentment stems from the time I had an infected ovary at the age of 14 and the doctor came in and announced to my mom and I that I was pregnant. Umm, don't think so and don't you have to ask the parent to leave the room even if that were true. I think my mom called him an idiot. 

I took this resentment with me to the Netherlands, combined with a fear of not being able to communicate what was wrong with me, and if there was something wrong with me this news being issued to me with Dutch bluntness. Plus, I wasn't sure about costs and such although insurance is a legal requirement here in the Netherlands. Yep, occasionally I am ridiculously stubborn. 

I did manage to find a doctor though and register online just in case I ever needed one in an emergency. Today, it was necessary to go to the doctor for the first time. Right before I moved to the Netherlands, I had massive pain in my right shoulder. I went to a doc in the box because my insurance had expired when I left my job. I was told it was nothing and sent home with some heavy duty Ibuprofen. It took care of the pain for awhile, but in this last year the pain has come back with a vengeance. 

The pain normally horrible for a few days each month and normal things like getting undressed are not an option without assistance. But then the pain would be a lot less and I didn't want to go to the doctor and be like, oh yeah I had pain last week, but now it is okay. However, the pain has been pretty much constant this whole month and I haven't been able to sleep for the past two days, due to the pain. So finally I took the plunge and called yesterday to make an appointment for today. Of course today was not a terrible day pain wise, but I am still in pain. My doctor is a fifteen minute walk from my house, which is awesome. 

I got to the appointment 30 minutes early because I was expecting to have to fill out all sorts of forms. Not at all the case, I was just told to go wait in the waiting room, they didn't even want to see my insurance card or anything. I was then called back by my doctor therefore there was no more awkward waiting in the room alone.(My least favorite part about going to the doctor in the States). After a few tests on my shoulder and a talk about what was wrong, It was decided that I should take some major pain meds for the next week, 3 times a day! And a stomach med because the pain meds are known to mess with stomachs. This is amazing as I have a weak stomach. The doctor sent the prescription online to the pharmacy which was in the same complex. 

I was then asked to make an appointment next week as they are hoping the inflammation will go down a bit and I will see my doctor and a physical therapist to help figure out what the problem is since this has been off and on for two years now. She ruled out a lot and I will see a specialist. 

I was so surprised that in the two minutes I had to walk over to the pharmacy, my prescription was ready, but they come in boxes not bottles.So that is also more efficient. Overall, it was incredibly cheap and time efficient in compared to going to the doctor in the States. I don't know if this is just my doctor or if my experience is typical of the Dutch system, but so far I think it is sooooooo much better than the American system. 

Please forgive me if this post is a little ramblely, the meds are making me a bit loopy. What do you think is good/bad about the healthcare system in your country?

Until next time,


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Bleh... I hate going to the doctor as well. And of course doesn't help that I always have to wait FOREVER no matter if I'm early, right on time, or arrive late... it's always the same. The absolute worst part about going to my doctor is no cell phone signal inside the complex which means that if you didn't remember to bring a book or something else you might die of boredom before the doctor sees you! 

I hate going to the doctor, too, but I agree that it feels much more efficient in the Netherlands, especially when it comes to getting medication. The only thing I don't like is that if you need a specialist, you have to see a GP first, and it's inconvenient to take off work/school for two appointments. But I understand why they do it that way.